Thursday, 8 October 2009

Review - Bowling For Soup - Sorry For Partyin’

Bowling For Soup - Sorry For Partyin’

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9 out of 10

Bowling For Soup’s previous nine albums have been the soundtracks to many a party, and anyone who has seen the band in action will know what I mean when I say it feels like a party with your best friends. So does the title of this album signify a change in direction? In a word, no. In fact it neatly encapsulates everything that is great about Bowling For Soup, there’s the daft; with songs about beer (Hooray For Beer), girls with phallic names (My Wena) and man love (BFFF). But there are also some more serious moments (Only Young, Me With No You), however, with two such polar opposites on the same album it’s never clear what Bowling For Soup are hoping to achieve. On the one hand they seem to want to cement their place as ’that funny band’, but on the other they seem to realise that giving themselves that tag will isolate a large number of listeners who will appreciate their obvious talent for penning a tune. This can be best shown by hidden track Belgian Polka. It’s basically a reworking of ’Belgium’ a track from ’Let’s Do It For Johnny’ which features on two further albums in various guises. The seriousness of the song being somewhat offset by the ludicrous polka beat that it now uses as its backing track.

’A Really Cool Dance Song’ kicks the album off in typical Bowling For Soup style, a tongue-in-cheek response to the recent trend of dance influenced rock music (’Who are we fooling, this isn’t really what we do/We had to borrow this keyboard/We only listen to Motley Crue’). Ironically it sounds more natural and frankly, far better than the groups it mocks. Just as ’My Wena’ seems Bloodhound Gang influenced, this seems akin to ’Finding Emo’ by regular touring partner MC Lars. ’No Hablo Ingles’ follows, with its ludicrous lyrics, about claiming to be unable to understand English, over a simple but effective tune. Single ’My Wena’ has been reviewed elsewhere on this site, but does seem a logical choice of single given the image the band seems to want to portray.

’Me With No You’ is the stand out track on the album, ditching the innuendo as well as the punkier sound instead it’s a touching love song which owes more to the stadium rock the band love so much. It seems written for a live setting with well placed na-na’s and a huge lighters in the air chorus. ’Only Young’ sticks out also, going down the more familiar path of breakneck riffs and sing along chorus, which to does to excellent effect. It avoids the daft subject matter that would otherwise draw focus from its simplistic brilliance.

’America (Wake Up Amy)’ is where the album hits a snag, both this and ’If Only’ are good songs ruined by pointless interruptions, whoop whoops spoil the former and the telephone calls on the latter grate to the extent that after two listens it became my first skipper of the album. ’I Gotchoo’ takes its influences from the American South, similar to the Kid Rock song ’All Summer Long’ but avoids being quite as nauseous. ’Love Goes Boom’ cannot be taken seriously with such clichéd lyrics (When you walk in the room/Love goes boom), which is a shame as otherwise the lyrical content of the album cannot be faulted. It is perhaps what sets Bowling For Soup apart from the rest of the pop-punk crowd, relying on witty lyrics rather than image to sell records.

I have never been overly impressed with the recorded output of Bowling For Soup, live they are up there with the best, but their albums contain too much obvious filler, none could reasonably considered to be an essential purchase, though the inevitable greatest hits package will surely be an essential purchase. ’Sorry For Partyin’’ is their best so far, showcasing a band still at the top of their game, party on!

Listen: www.myspace.com/bowlingforsoup

Tracklist:
1. A Really Cool Dance Song
2. No Hablo Ingles
3. My Wena
4. Only Young
5. I Don’t Wish You Were Dead Anymore
6. BFFF
7. Me With No You
8. Hooray For Beer
9. America (Wake Up Amy)
10. If Only
11. I Gotchoo
12. Love Goes Boom
13. I Can’t Stand LA
14. (Hidden) Belgian Polka

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